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Level Measurement

How Sensors Ensure Precise Filling in Yoghurt Production

| Author / Editor: Jürgen Skowaisa* / Dr. Jörg Kempf

Ensures Hygienic Conditions in CIP Tanks

At another measuring point, the non-contact radar level sensor Vega­puls 64 was used. These instruments are located in two CIP return tanks in another part of the facility. One of them contains water and soda (three-percent ­Na2CO3) and the other water and three-percent acid to ensure CIP cleanliness. In the two tanks, Vega­puls 64 continuously measures the level of the cleaning agent used for cleaning and sterilising the system. Here, the foam generated by the soda and the constant circulation of the liquid became a challenge. It can have an adverse effect on the level measurement.

The extremely tight focusing and high dynamics of the sensor enable precise, reliable measurement in the cleaning fluid tanks. Vegapuls 64 operates at the high frequency of 80 GHz. As a result, it measures very reliably and independently of deposits, foam, internal fixtures or density fluctuations. The front-flush, encapsulated antenna is easy to clean and resistant to the extreme conditions of the SIP and CIP processes, such as high temperatures and aggressive cleaning agents.

What is more, the radar sensor easily meets the hygienic requirements with process fittings according to 3A and FDA. Since the antenna system has been integrated into the process connection, the antenna itself does not project into the container. It is thus possible to measure reliably right up close to the process fitting. This allows better utilization of the container volume and makes the whole system more flexible.

Also at this measuring point, no continuous level measuring device had ever been used, only capacitive sensors that signalled the minimum and maximum level. These are still used as alarm sensors. However, the company wanted to optimize the process flow here too, and utilize the advantages of continuous level measurement.

Tests with the radar sensor Vega­puls 64 showed that the instrument had no problems with the foam generated by the soda. So the control technicians decided to forgo a longer test measurement phase and rely on the data supplied by Vega.

In the production area itself, operating times could now be successfully optimized, because waiting until the tank was empty was no longer necessary. Before the deployment of continuous level measurement, employees never knew exactly how much cleaning fluid was left in the tank.

Wireless Operation? No Problem

Conclusion: The simple operation of the display and adjustment module Plicscom was particularly convincing for La Fageda. It displays the measured values, but is also suitable for adjustment and diagnostics directly on the sensor. The simple menu structure enables fast setup and commissioning, partly because status messages are displayed. Wireless operation is also possible if the user chooses the optional, retrofittable Bluetooth function. La Fageda was impressed by the reliability of the measuring instruments as well as the partner-like collaboration with Vega.

Thanks to the equipment and sophisticated technology with solvents, La Fageda’s employees can concentrate on their main task — producing the tastiest yoghurt in Catalonia.

Editorial Tip: Join us in a celebration of the top innovators in the process industry: A Quarter Century Full of Highlights in Radar Level Measurement.

* The author ist Product Manager, Vega Grieshaber KG, Schiltach/Germany.

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